Wolframalpha app

Students in MS 101 Algebra and Trigonometry who have Android phones have been using the WolframAlpha Android app to perform graphing in the class. Other students can access WolframAlpha through their desktop computers.

WolframAlpha is a disruptive technology in the sense that scientific calculators were a disruptive technology forty years ago. WolframAlpha changes what one do and what can be automated. WolframAlpha does for algebra what calculators did for arithmetic.

At this point there is no assessment of the technology per se. Comparisons are complex because the technology shifts the paradigm. Does one memorize identities and transformations which were tools to solving equations with the brain, or does one focus on setting up the problem properly for WolframAlpha and interpreting the answer? What does authentic assessment mean in an algebra and trigonometry class for non-math majors anyway?

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